Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 2: Drake Passage

We passed the 60 degrees latitude markers early this morning and then passed through the antarctic convergence, where the waters that flow around Antarctica meet the southern ocean and the temperature suddenly drops. So we are told that we are officially in the territory of Antarctica. We passed some of the islands that are associated with the sub-antarctic chains and are in the midst of the south Shetland islands at the moment.

The water was fairly calm today, which was good. I have not yet gotten seasick, but I have felt a little nauseous a few times and had to lay down. Truth be told, we have been blessed with the calm seas on the way here and I am at the point where I don't feel the ship moving much unless we hit a particularly big swell. The seasick medicine does work, but it also makes you have dry mouth, pee a lot, and makes you really, really sleepy. I try and come to my room and lay down at least a couple times a day for short naps to make things easier.

The really lame thing that has happened is that I have developed some upper respiratory sickness that the doctor says could either be Bronchitis of hooping cough, however, we have a respiratory therapist on board who says my symptoms don't match either of those things and she thinks it's just a severe cold with laryngitis. I have had a cough for like a month now from a cold I had near Christmas time, which I did not think anything of, but the day before we left on the boat, I was having pain in my left lung when I breathed in really hard or when i sneezed or coughed, and after a night on the boat my cough became really painful and way more frequent. My lung did stop hurting, but I went to the doctor on board anyway and she listened to my chest and is not worried. She gave me cough syrup which tastes horrible, but seems to at least tone it down a little.*sigh* I am powering through it all, but feel kind of lousy. Lame.

On to the good news. We saw whales and penguins and some really awesome sea birds today. Chris saw some fur seals chasing the ship as well. The ship's sonar also detected the first iceberg of the trip this morning. Our lectures were informative and the fod has all been surprisingly good. Tomorrow we are going to assess the landing sites on some of the south Shetland islands and attempt for a morning and afternoon zodiac landing. The morning prospect is Aitcho island which should have rookeries of chinstrap and Gentoo penguins and fur seals. The afternoon site that we are trying for is called half moon island which has 3,300 breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins as well as seals on it.

I sure do hope that I feel better tomorrow because it sounds like a really exciting day!

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